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Rumenco livestock feeds - Rumevite, Lifeline, SUPAlyx, Beetlic

MAXIMISING THE PERFORMANCE OF CATTLE AND SHEEP AT GRASS

It pays to stock summer pastures heavily in early summer, but even in good
grass growing years the growth rates of cattle and lambs decline as the
season progresses. David Thornton from Rumenco explains why
supplementary feed from mid-summer is technically and economically justified.

Early in the season when conditions are favourable for grass growth, it’s pretty easy
to achieve above average daily liveweight gains for your cattle and lambs. But if the
dry spring weather conditions persist into June, grass growth and digestibility will be
severely compromised.

Whatever the weather, the quantity and quality of grass slowly diminish over the
summer growing season. For optimum animal performance, the grass needs to be
young and digestible. Good gains in cattle and lambs from early season grass alone
are achieved because it is very nutritious. Typically, grass in June might contain 20-
24% protein (in the dry matter) and is usually around 80 D-value, giving a ME value
of 12.8MJ/kg DM – which are values higher than in many compound feeds used at
this time!

The graphs below show how the various nutritional parameters vary over the
summer (see figures 1, 2 and 3 below). Consequently, the management of grazing
livestock has to be adjusted accordingly. High stocking rates early in the season
have to be reduced later on as accumulation of grass dry matter per hectare reduces.
Likewise, digestibility, protein level and sugar contents also tend to decrease, whilst
dry matter and fibre contents increase. And in a drought year, the process is
accelerated. So much so, that you can find your animals actually losing weight. The
take home message is that your grass slowly loses its value after June unless an
appropriate grazing supplement, such as Rumevite, is introduced to help stock make
the most of your cheapest feed.

There’s a good economic argument for supplementary feeding too. In a good
growing year, cattle that have not been fed any supplementary feed at grass typically
return overall summer gains of 0.5-0.6kg/day. But, importantly, their subsequent
winter silage and concentrate requirements will be higher than for cattle that have
received some supplementation. This is because the animals are older and the
efficiency with which they are able to convert feed into growth has been reduced.

(please download PDF to view graphs)

Profit from Rumevite at grass

Our own studies using Rumevite blocks at grass and no concentrates have indicated
0.24kg/day extra gain with blocks over controls, where blocks were fed to beef store
cattle and dairy young stock from June to housing. Similarly, with finishing lambs,
Rumevite produced gains of 189g/day versus 94g/day for controls with the Rumevitefed
lambs finishing in 45 days compared with 82 days for the controls.

Additional benefits

Rumevite has additional benefits over trough feeding in that intake is determined by
grass quality – the lower the grass quality the higher the intake and vice versa.

Blocks provide a useful indicator of grass value, a kind of nutritional barometer if you
like, so their daily cost is therefore proportional to the grass value, whereas hand
feeding systems are more static irrespective of grass quality.

Rumevite also provides essential minerals and vitamins, which help to boost fertility.
Mineral deficiencies cause many costly reproductive problems.

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